By Rob Potter
ROSCOE Hank D’Auria, who is the Treasurer and Event Chairman for the Sullivan County Long Beards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, smiled brightly on Saturday morning as he looked around the Roscoe Firemen’s Park.
It was just before noon and scores of people at were the park for the Sullivan County Long Beards’ seventh annual free JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) event.
“This is a beautiful turnout today,” D’Auria said. “This is a great event.
“It hasn’t been two hours yet and hundreds of people are here,” he added. “There are still more people coming into the park.”
The event, which featured several shows and demonstrations about the outdoors, fishing and hunting, ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. By the end of the day, 326 JAKES members and 34 non-JAKES members attended the event, which made for a total of 360 youngsters up to age 17.
“We had 66 workers here today, so that’s more than 400 people,” D’Auria said. “When you count all of the parents and adults who accompanied the kids, there were probably 600 to 700 people total.”
D’Auria noted that the attendees included New York State Senator John Bonacic and his grandson.
The day’s activities included turkey call building, bird- house building, a pellet gun shoot, a .410 gun shoot, fly tying and fly casting.
Several local businesses and organizations had booths at the event. They included Ducks Unlimited, Travis Archery, Dream Angler Archery, True Life Taxidermist, She Wolf Taxidermy and the Ulster County Trappers.
In addition, the National Forest Service gave a demonstration, Bob Hanson discussed wilderness survival and the New York State Troopers held a K-9 demonstration.
B.R. Delaney, a Native American Historical Interpreter, dressed as a member of the Leni Lenape tribe. He showed kids and adults alike the tent, guns, clothing and food of the Leni Lenape, who once lived in Sullivan County and the surrounding area.
Chris Vernia, a DJ from Double Image Sounds & Entertainment, Inc. of Yorktown Heights, provided the musical entertainment.
The Boy Scouts offered homemade donuts to everyone in attendance.
Robert Green Chevrolet provided 400 hats and M & M Auto Group provided 1,000 hot dogs.
At 2 p.m., Scott Matthew, a trick shooter with Benelli shotguns, performed a show that amazed the audience.
While every youngster who attended the event received a turkey call kit to take home, others won prizes in special raffles. A total of 20 air guns were given away as well as 20 20-inch bikes.
In addition, two bows were given away in free raffles. Travis Archery donated a Matthew bow and Dream Angler Archery donated a Dayton bow.
Another raffle offered three special prizes. Bethany Robitale of Loch Sheldrake won the first prize, which was a Browning Bar rifle. Hank D’Auria of Livingston Manor won second prize, a NWTF Weatherby rifle. Jackie Totten of Sundown won third prize, a Henry .17-caliber rifle.
Two other raffles were held. One was for a small bear donated by woodcarver Dan Frisbee of Roscoe. The other was for a gray, long-eared rabbit donated by the Morgan family of Narrowsburg.